MILWAUKEE—The Marquette Golden Eagles used a balanced scoring attack and second half surge to take down the Centenary Gentlemen 81-52 Saturday afternoon at the Bradley Center.
Jimmy Butler led the way with his fifth career double-double, going for 10 points and 12 rebounds, while freshman Vander Blue continued his streak of excellent play with 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting, nine rebounds, and five assists.
Centenary (0-12, 0-2) was held without a point until the 15:30 mark in the first half but managed to keep things close, forcing nine Marquette turnovers which they turned into seven points. Maxx Nakwaasah led the way for the Gentlemen with 10 points in the half. He finished with 17 points and eight rebounds.
Jae Crowder, who made his first career start, and Jimmy Butler each had seven points apiece to help Marquette take a 36-24 lead at intermission.
The Golden Eagles shook off its sluggish start and turned things around in the second half thanks to Darius Johnson-Odom, who scored 14 of his 16 points after halftime. The Golden Eagles went on a 15-5 run to open the half, taking a 21-point lead and putting the game out of reach.
"We were able to not think about what's going on and just move on to the next play," Johnson-Odom said of the team's second half performance. "I think that's when we're at our best."
Freshman Jamail Jones, who had a total of two points in his first six appearances, finished with a career-high 11 points. He connected on three of his four three point attempts and was the lone bright spot from beyond the arc for the Golden Eagles, who made just five of its 17 attempts from beyond the arc.
""I knew my time was going to come," Jones said. I'm working hard every day in practice. I knew coach [Williams] was going to give me a chance and when it came my teammates just told me to keep my head and keep working."
Sophomore Erik Williams also turned in a solid performance, playing a season-high 23 minutes and finishing with seven points and a career-high 10 rebounds. With Joe Fulce missing the foreseeable future with a knee injury and Davante Gardner still battling a sore shoulder, Williams' presence was important for Marquette, which outrebounded the Gentlemen 51 to 29 in the win. Marquette also grabbed a season-high 20 offensive rebounds, which lead to 13 second chance points.
With the beginning of the Big East season just two weeks away, head coach Buzz Williams knows the Golden Eagles will need to start putting together full games.
""We have no time to continue to play some good and some bad," Williams said. "And we have to start playing more good than bad."
Marquette will host Mississippi Valley State on Tuesday before they travel to Vanderbilt on December 29. They will then take on West Virginia on New Year's Day to begin its Big East slate.
MU bounces back, defeats Centenary
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